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 Chiefs Draft Review

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Giver of Life
Giver of Life

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PostSubject: Chiefs Draft Review   Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:40 pm

It is officially time to put that theory about Bill Belichick being the brains behind the Patriots dynasty and Scott Pioli only being along for the ride to rest. In just a few short years Pioli has transformed Kansas City from a cellar-dweller into a playoff team with a very bright future. The NFL Draft has been the catalyst behind that amazing resurrection. Granted Pioli’s initial effort in KC was uneven, at best, but last year’s standout crop more than made up for its predecessor’s shortcomings. Improving upon a class that saw Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Tony Moeaki and Kendrick Lewis all become major contributors as rookies would be no small task but Pioli may actually have done it.

Leading up to Draft Day most of the speculation surrounding the Chiefs was focused offensive linemen, outside linebackers and perhaps a nose tackle. However, that was only because there didn’t appear to be a wide receiver worthy of being selected in the middle of round one. Kansas City ultimately opted to move down and take a chance on Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Baldwin, collecting an extra third round pick in the process. Baldwin would have come off the board much earlier if sheer talent was the only factor to consider. A dynamic deep threat and terror in the red zone with an outstanding blend of size and speed, Baldwin has the potential to be a featured target at the next level. With that said, Baldwin’s game lacks polish and there are also some character / maturity issues that turned some scouts and decisions makers off. By the time Draft Day rolled around it appeared as though those concerns would push Baldwin into the second or perhaps even the third round, but it’s not hard to see why Kansas City chose to roll the dice. For all the strides that the Chiefs made in 2010 their passing game still ranked third from last in the entire league and there wasn’t much to speak of at wideout beyond Dwayne Bowe. Even though Bowe and Baldwin are somewhat similar in stature they are different types of players and should compliment each other well, with Bowe working the short and intermediate areas and Baldwin stretching the field vertically. The pressure will be on Todd Haley to both develop Baldwin and keep him on the straight and narrow. If everything breaks right Baldwin will be a terrific addition for the Chiefs, but there is also considerable bust potential there as well. The Chiefs are hoping Baldwin will be more Vincent Jackson than Kenny Britt. Kansas City did eventually address their need along the offensive line in round two with the selection of Florida St. C Rodney Hudson. Hudson, who can also play guard, lacks prototypical size but is a technically sound, battle-tested blocker. Hudson will likely take over as the starting center as a rookie and hold that spot down for the next decade.

Kansas City wound up with a couple of choices in round three and they may have hit home runs with both. Georgia OLB Justin Houston was considered to be a late first or early second round possibility throughout most of the process, especially after he put up some eye-popping numbers in workouts, but a failed drug test at the Scouting Combine sent his stock tumbling. At #70 overall the potential rewards certainly outweighed the risks though, especially when you consider that Houston was once considered to be a legitimate possibility for the Chiefs in round one. Houston is a bit of a ‘tweener but should excel rushing off the edge in an odd front like the Chiefs run. With Mike Vrabel retiring to coach the linebackers at Ohio St. there is a starting job open opposite Tamba Hali and Houston will give Andy Studebaker a real run for his money. With their next pick the Chiefs landed another prospect who most had pegged as a potential first rounder in Miami (FL) DE Allen Bailey. When it comes to physical tools Bailey has everything that you look for but even though he was relatively productive for the Hurricanes there was always something missing. Part of the problem was that Bailey seemed to fancy himself as an edge rusher in a 4-3 scheme. In reality Bailey is probably best suited to be a five-technique in an odd front and that is the role he’ll be asked to play in Kansas City. Bailey will most likely begin his pro career as a backup but if Tyson Jackson continues to disappoint there could be an opportunity to compete for a starting job in the near future.

The contract situations of both Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are unsettled so in round four the Chiefs brought in some depth and insurance at cornerback. Colorado’s Jalil Brown was overshadowed by his teammate Jimmy Smith during their time in Boulder but there were times when Brown, not Smith, played like the first rounder. Brown isn’t particularly flashy but he possesses good size, adequate speed and top-notch intangibles. Barring injury Brown will likely be relegated to competing for the dime job as a rookie but he will be a major upgrade over what Kansas City previously had at the position. In round five the Chiefs got a steal in Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi, who should have come off the board at least a couple of rounds earlier. While most of the top quarterbacks in this class got pushed up draft boards, Stanzi inexplicably slid despite his impressive size, intangibles and experience. Stanzi should be an upgrade over Brodie Croyle as Matt Cassel’s backup and in time he could develop into a viable starter in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if Kansas City is able to get a nice return on their modest investment via trade a few years down the line, just like New England did with Cassel.

With their other choice in round five the Chiefs took a chance on a developmental prospect when they selected Oregon St. OLB Gabe Miller. An undersized college defensive end who will make the transition to pass rushing outside linebacker at the next level, Miller is a great athlete with terrific speed and intriguing upside. Miller is slated to compete for a roster spot as a backup and special teamer. In round six the Chiefs made one of the more interesting picks of the entire 2011 NFL Draft when they chose Ole Miss NT Jerrell Powe, a massive (335 lbs.) space-eater who is a perfect fit at nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme. Coming into the 2010 season Powe was considered to be a solid Top 100 value but a shaky senior campaign along with concerns about his intelligence took their toll on his draft stock. However, both Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith are free agents so there could be an opening for Powe to take advantage of. At the very least Powe will provide some much needed depth at a critical position but don’t be surprised if he eventually winds up starting. In round seven the Chiefs pulled off one of this year’s biggest surprises when they selected Yale FB Shane Bannon. It’s hard to label any seventh round pick a reach but if there ever was one it’s Bannon, who nobody expected to be drafted. With that said, Pioli saw something he liked in Bannon during a late workout and he has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt. Bannon, who is a well-rounded player that can run, catch and block, will compete with veteran Mike Cox for a chance to clear the way for Jamaal Charles.

Overall this was an outstanding draft for Kansas City as they not only addressed needs but also got excellent value with the vast majority of their picks. It’s not a stretch to envision as many as six or seven of their choices competing for starting jobs at some point, which is no small feat when you consider they were already a pretty good team. Draft Day efforts like this will ensure that the Chiefs turnaround isn’t a fluke and hopefully help the franchise take that next step from playoff contender to Super Bowl contender.

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Mod Lord
Mod Lord

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PostSubject: Re: Chiefs Draft Review   Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:16 pm

I loved our draft.
Jalil Brown reminds me a lot of Brandon Carr and I love the value we got out of almost every pick! Allen Bailey is like a more athletic Wallace Gilberry (who is our best pass rusher in the front 3.) I just all around like the value of the draft and we did take some chances but they are in position where they can be groomed sitting behind solid starters with less upside in most cases.

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